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SDG 4 in higher education: challenges and opportunities

Therese Ferguson (School of Education, The University of the West Indies, Mona, Kingston, Jamaica)
Carmel Geneva Roofe (School of Education, The University of the West Indies, Mona, Kingston, Jamaica)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 12 June 2020

Issue publication date: 17 July 2020

3853

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this case study is to focus on the role of higher education in the realisation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4, discussing both challenges and opportunities. Drawing on the example of The University of the West Indies (UWI) School of Education (SOE) (Mona Campus in Jamaica), this paper illustrates how higher education can move SDG 4 forward in a realistic and significant way.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on the literature and case study experiences implementing education for sustainable development-related activities within a SOE, opportunities and challenges regarding SDG 4 and higher education institutions (HEIs) are identified and outlined. The SOE at the UWI campus is used as an illustrative case study to highlight the ways in which HEIs can drive SDG 4 through teaching, programme and course development, research and outreach activities.

Findings

Based on the literature examined, along with the case study, the paper argues that HEIs must help to shape and lead the SDG 4 agenda by being integrally involved and no longer watching from the side lines. A framework to aid HEIs in achieving outcomes associated with SDG 4 is then proffered. The intent is that this will not only help shape discourse but also shape actions, as the demand for higher education increases across the globe.

Originality/value

This paper uses a Caribbean regional HEI as the basis for the framework proposed to aid HEIs in achieving SDG 4 outcomes. This brings to the fore discourse from the global south, as space that is often missing from the discussion.

Keywords

Citation

Ferguson, T. and Roofe, C.G. (2020), "SDG 4 in higher education: challenges and opportunities", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 21 No. 5, pp. 959-975. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-12-2019-0353

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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